DayBreaks for 7/27/17: The Intimate Dance of Hope and Faith
Preface: I’ve recently started reading Jurgen Moltmann’s Theology of Hope, and thus far I’ve found it to be a fascinating book. Be on the lookout for numerous DayBreaks based on this work in the future.
Christian hope has been the target of nay-sayers for a long, long time. Some criticize the Christian hope as causing us as believers to live in a never-never land of make believe, as if we were children who hope for a cotton candy but who haven’t yet been told that the machine is broken and there will be none – not for good or bad little boys or girls. And as a result, we’re considered foolish for hoping in something that those who don’t believe think doesn’t even exist.
Others attack the idea and principle of Christian hope from a different angle: they say that it distracts us from the present realities, causing us to be disconnected from the only life that we shall ever possess and the urgent needs of the present world. If all we Christians are good for, the thought goes, is being distressed in this world and focused on a future world where things are infinitely better, we won’t spend much time trying to make this place better. Instead, we’d write it off as a colossal loss as we live in hope of something better.
Of course, Moltmann would not agree with either of those two propositions. In his introduction, he reveals some insights into the intricate relationship of faith and hope that help me understand it a bit better. I’ll share some of those with you in the next few days. For example: “Hope is nothing else than the expectation of those things which faith has believed to have been truly promised by God. Thus, faith believes God to be true, hope awaits the time when this truth shall be manifested; faith believes that he is our Father, hope anticipates that he will ever show himself to be a Father toward us; faith believes that eternal life has been given to us, hope anticipates that it will in some time be revealed; faith is the foundation upon which hope rests, hope nourishes and sustains faith.”
“Thus in the Christian life faith has the priority, but hope the primacy. Without faith’s knowledge of Christ, hope becomes a utopia and remains hanging in the air. But without hope, faith falls to pieces, becomes a faint-hearted and ultimately a dead faith. It is through faith that man finds the path of true life, but it is only hope that keeps him on that path.”
To put it in my meager terms, hope is what gives faith its wings, it’s feet. Just because we believe God is true and will be so, it is the hope that someday that truth will be shown and recognized by everyone – even His enemies. Through faith we accept that we are his “offspring” and our Father, it is hope that allows us to call Him the kind of Father that we can proclaim as “Abba” – a good, loving Father who will forever be so.
Hope and faith are joined at the hip. Faith without hope would be interesting, but not very uplifting or encouraging. Hope without faith is virtually a non-sequitur and a childish dream.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul speaks of an unlikely trinity – certainly not one that an earth-bound mind would conjure up: Then abide these three: faith, hope and love…and the greatest of these is love. Paul was speaking about what remains in this world I believe, and not in the one we hope for, because once that world is realized, there will be no more need for hope nor for that matter, faith. We will see the object of our faith and walking by faith will be no more. And, once we are in full possession of the heavenly blessings, what more is there to hope for beyond that ecstasy? Nothing. But love will remain – and it will remain throughout all eternity. That shouldn’t cause us to relegate faith and hope to a backseat in our present walk, but it should enhance our appreciation of the necessity of both until they fulfill their purpose and deliver us to heaven’s portal.
Romans 5:4-5 (NLT) – And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
PRAYER: Lord God Almighty, we thank You for the twin blessings of faith and hope. Thank You for opening our eyes through faith to Your existence and for the hope that it gives us that our lives are not meaningless, but that we are destined for better things and that our hope will not disappoint us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>